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RPAC turns 10

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With a decade of providing recreation and exercise to the Ohio State community, the RPAC is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Celebration events are scheduled throughout the school year, including new group fitness classes and a 10k run.

Many steps were taken before the new workout facility opened in 2005. This initial phase was followed by a secondary project phase in 2007.

Involving students in deciding what was best for the new facility was important to the directors of the project, said Marci Shumaker, the senior associate director for administration and programs at the Office of Student Life’s Department of Recreational Sports, who has been with OSU since 1997.

“It was a lot of talk with students and student leaders to figure out what they liked and taking all of the information and trying to build the best thing that we could,” she said.

When the RPAC was in the planning stages, OSU wanted the new facility to focus on the concept of physical activity and new ways to make the facility accessible for all students, said Don Stenta, the recreational sports director.

“One of the things I’m really proud of in this building is that there’s a lot of flexibility in our space, which doesn’t tie us to any particular use,” Stenta said.

He also said that the recreational sports department motto is “Life in Motion,” which puts its focus on motivating students to be active.

“In this building, there’s a lot of different ways to pursue this idea of motion where you’re up and moving,” Stenta said. “I think another hallmark is that it’s a community center or a space where people can gather, so there’s a lot of recreational wellness-related activities that take place here.”

The RPAC is not only a place for physical activity, but also a place where students can meet to study or plan for group projects, Stenta said.

“There’s a lot of social activity that takes place in the building because we have dining locations and a number of meeting rooms,” he said. “So it has the ability to really bring people together, and that’s really advancing the whole concept of wellness and we’re really proud of that.”

The building that the RPAC replaced was built in the 1930s. It had no air conditioning and was undersized, so students and faculty were very excited for the new facility, Shumaker said.

“The feedback for the opening of the RPAC was very well received,” she said. “The traffic numbers have consistently been very busy. We get between 5,000 to 7,000 people a day, on average.”

The new benefits that the RPAC gave students were also important to the directors and student leaders when planning the project, Shumaker said.

“We are able to be open a lot longer than we were before and we have more of a variety,” she said. “Flexibility and creativity are some things that’s been able to thrive due to the amount of space.”

One of the convenient factors of the RPAC being built in phases is that no one ever lost recreational time, Shumaker said.

“They took part of the old facility and built phase one, where the staff eventually moved into, and then they knocked down the remainder of the old building, and built phase two,” she said.

The architecture in the building was designed and integrated to help facilitate wellness, Stenta said.

“People are very impressed with the idea that they have the ability to come in here and run the track and see different views of campus,” Stenta said. “Whether it’s Ohio Stadium or University Hall, it integrates everything that’s great about this university.”

Stenta said student involvement has always been a part of the RPAC for the creation and the opening, adding she hopes to continue that engagement for the next 10 years and to keep the buckeye community excited and up-to-date with fitness trends.

“I describe this building as one that really celebrates the concept of a legacy at OSU because students were involved at the ground level to help design what’s here now,” he said. “My sense for the next 10 years is that we will keep going with what we have been doing because it seems to be a really good recipe for success.”

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